Reconciliation

hugging-571076_640Genesis 33:10: Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me. (ESV)

This statement was made as Jacob saw his brother Esau after decades of separation. Jacob had run away from his brother who wanted to kill him.

In that period, their relationship was non-existent. They were dead to each other.  Jacob was the offender and ran away from being killed by his brother, Esau.

But when the time came for their face to face meeting, Jacob was happy that it was peaceful against his fear that something bad was going to happen to him. God had intervened with Esau and the meeting was okay.

Instead of judgement, so to speak, Jacob found favour, instead of rejection, he found acceptation. It was like the story of the prodigal son, who was fearful about the reception he was going to get when he returns to the father (Luke 15:11-32).

He had done the wrong thing and was reluctant to retrace his step. He had done the wrong thing and was facing the repercussion of his wrong move.

He asked for his inheritance and spent it on harlots in a foreign land in a twisted desired for independence. But instead of chasing him away, the father accepted him. Both the prodigal son and the Jacob took things for themselves in unethical manners. Jacob took Esau’s blessings by sleuth and the prodigal son decided to gain his inheritance even before the death of the father.

That was what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. To obtain some kind of wisdom they ate the fruit God said that they shouldn’t.

When they did that they had to run away from God in fear, just as Jacob ran away from Esau. There was a breakdown in their relationship.

It is interesting that in the reconciliation between the prodigal son and the father and Jacob and Esau the once who should feel offended were seen moving to receive the other in their embrace

That gives us a picture of God and his disposition when we repent. When the prodigal son returned the father set up a party of rejoicing. So instead of having a feeling of condemnation, he was overwhelmed with love from the father, a love that never waned.

The father had to allow the son to make his choice and to also release him to face the repercussion. The prodigal son by moving away from the father learnt invaluable lessons that will actually make him a better son. That experience is invaluable. The next time he will make a better decision, he will be able to advise others, he will be able to show the right way to others. So the fact that you did something wrong in the past should not be the focus, it is how we become a better person because of it.

For Adam and Eve, their sin was not the end of humanity (Genesis 3), Jesus came as the way back to God, opening the path of repentance. He said: repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The sin is not the end, there is the door of repentance, the door of change, into new life and power. God is full of mercy, and compassion. He seeks Man out, coming in the shape of Jesus to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). He initiates the reconciliation, but we have to embrace it.

Reconciliation may be attempted but because of the response of the other party, it may not succeed. That is why Paul said that, as long as it lies with us, we should live in peace with all men (Romans 12:18). Everything does not depend on us. Sometimes the people we want peace with do not want peace with us. Peace initiatives may be rebuffed or conditions set for the people that may be difficult to achieve. A psalmist wrote: I am for peace, but when I speak of it, all they want is war (Psalm 120:6).

God sent Jesus to the world, so that through him the people will be saved, that they will be reconciled to him, and he has also given us the ministry of reconciliation (2Corinthians 5:12-21).

But people can reject Jesus. They do it all the time. Full of their own way, they reject the ways of God, full of their own plans they reject the plan of God.

John wrote that: for God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

But people may choose not to believe and it is in the devil’s interest that they not believe. The bible says that he has blinded the hearts of those who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel shine on them (2Corinthians 4:4).

That is why for any ministry of reconciliation to be successful it must be backed by fasting and prayer by a team dedicated to it. Paul asked for churches to pray for him that the word of God will have free course and be glorified (2Thessalonians 3:1). Otherwise, there will be resistance if the people eyes remain blinded. Peter said: we will give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4).

Before the church, through persecution, was dispersed from Jerusalem, they were known for prayer (Acts 2:42). In the place where they go, they were efficient when it comes to preaching to others and churches were set up as a result of their efforts. One of the churches set up was in Antioch which continued with the priority of prayer.

Certain prophets and teachers in the church in Antioch were committed to prayer. On one of such occasions of fasting and prayer in Acts chapter 13, the Holy Spirit said that Barnabas and Paul must be separated to him for the work they should do. And that began a powerful reconciliation move of God that spread across many places. The point is that there is no doing any work of reconciliation without prayer. Even Jesus was soaked in prayer.

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